12 Best Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR (2023)

This small town, nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, is an area of outstanding beauty and the perfect destination for enthusiastic hikers, and all kinds of nature lovers. With plenty of rivers and lakes nearby, there are lots of opportunities to try out different water sports in the area.

The town itself is exceptionally lively for its size, and very picturesque. Most of the town’s homes are old Victorian houses built into the mountain’s landscape and its cliffs. Besides all the things to do in Eureka Springs, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many events are hosted each year in this small mountain village. Whether you want to spend a luxurious and relaxing weekend away or get into the wilderness, Eureka Springs has it all.

12. Lake Leatherwood

12 Best Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR (1)© Dreamstime

This man-made lake was born in the 1940s when a limestone dam was built to store the large amounts of natural spring water that feeds into the reserve. It is still one of the largest hand-cut limestone dams in the US!

The lake is surrounded by acres of beautiful woodland that you can visit on foot or by bike. There are over 25 miles of trails, with a variety of terrains, that you can explore during your visit.

If the water looks enticing, you can also go kayaking or canoeing on the lake or stand on the lake’s edge and do some fishing. The nature, solitude, and adventures offered by Lake Leatherwood make it a must-visit during your holiday.

11. Onyx Cave Park

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This is an ideal stop-off for visitors who have always wanted to explore underground caves, but aren’t looking to spend hours in the cool, damp, dark environment within. The Onyx Cave Park is home to a small network of underground caves that take about half an hour to explore.

You’ll get to see the incredible geographical formations within the caves that continue to grow and change throughout the years! Once you get cold and tire of the musky smell below, you can come up and try your hand at axe throwing or go wild in one of the Onyx Smashing Rooms.

After all your adventures at Onyx Cave are done you can head over to their shop and buy some unique souvenirs, like natural crystals, to take home.

10. Basin Spring Park

12 Best Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR (3)© Dreamstime

(Video) Top 13 Things to Do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

This small Park in the center of the town is a place of historical significance and legend. The natural spring, Basin Spring, that trickles away beneath the park was an important healing spring that was honored and used by Native Americans who lived on the land of Eureka Springs.

The spring attracted visitors who came with the promise of having their wounds healed and being cured of diseases by the spring’s water. It later became the center of the town as plans were made in the late 1800s to build homes and streets around the Basin Spring.

You can stop for a rest in between activities at the small park, catch your breath, and soak in the impressive history of this little spring before continuing your holiday adventures.

9. Christ of the Ozarks

12 Best Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR (4)© Dreamstime

This large, imposing religious statue was erected in 1966 above the town. The statue of Christ is the village’s own Christ the Redeemer. Though it’s smaller than Rio’s version, the Christ still stands 67 feet high!

The statue is on top of the nearby Magnetic Mountain, at some 1,500 feet of altitude. It’s one of the town’s most visited attractions. Each year hundreds of tourists climb the steep hill up to the statue, and marvel at its size.

Another interesting fact to spark your curiosity – the statue was built using 340 tons of concrete! A short walk from the town, the Christ of the Ozarks is a must-see on your visit.

8. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Eureka has its very own exotic rescue center, the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has a variety of species of big cats within its walls. If you’ve always wanted to see one of these impressive animals but you had ethical concerns, this is a great way to do it!

The wildlife refuge provides a loving home for big cats that have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by their previous owners. You’ll see tigers, lions, leopards, and cougars on your visit.

(Video) 12 Fun Things to Do in Eureka Springs with Kids

The refuge is a great opportunity to get up close to these extraordinary animals and learn about how they are cared for. A fun and educational day out for the whole family!

7. Quigley’s Castle

Quigley’s Castle was built by the Quigley family in the 1940s. This strange home is a one-of-a-kind, and its history is even more peculiar! Mrs. Quigley moved to the states from Italy as a young girl and grew up in the local area. She later happily married and had children in town.

But, she wasn’t satisfied with the home they lived in. So, when her husband went to work one day, she and her children tore it down and moved into the chicken coop! Now she could get to work building the home of her dreams, Quigley’s Castle.

The building’s design and interior haven’t changed since Mrs. Quigley passed away, and the gardens and home all reflect her love of nature. There’s lots to explore in this unique house and its beautiful gardens!

6. Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway

12 Best Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR (7)© Dreamstime

This unique museum and its attractions are a blast into the past, taking its visitors back into a time when the railway was the most effective and used way to get around the country. A must-see for train enthusiasts, curious engineers, and anyone looking to do something out of the ordinary.

You can put your mind to work contemplating the old steam locomotive exhibits and wonder at the 1940s diesel locomotive in action!

The Railway center also offers its visitors the chance to ride the 1940s locomotive and enjoy a 1920s themed meal whilst onboard. If you fancy riding an old train but aren’t looking for a meal, then you can hop on board a short excursion ride instead!

5. Blue Spring Heritage Center

12 Best Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR (8)Melanie / Flickr

(Video) 12 Best Hotels in Eureka Springs, AR

This ancient land was once the home of the Cherokee, who found and were nurtured by the land during the Trail of Tears. The center has a rich history and areas of outstanding natural beauty for visitors to explore and contemplate.

A great day trip from the town, the Blue Spring Center has gardens full of native fauna and flora. There are lots of idyllic benches where you can stop and rest on your way around the winding paths that run through the grounds.

Another treasure of the Center is the Blue Spring. This natural spring pours 38 million gallons of freshwater into the center’s lagoon each day and it is a hotspot for native trout species.

4. Beaver Lake

This big, crystalline lake is a popular tourist destination for water sport lovers and all kinds of nature enthusiasts. Beaver Lake is surrounded by green forests and grassy meadows with lots of hiking trails zig-zaging through them.

It’s also an ideal place for bird watching, a gentle stroll around the lakeside, or a picturesque place to stop and read a book in the sun. You can also bring your fishing pole and try your hand at catching a bass!

If you want to get out onto the water you can boat, scuba dive, water ski, wakeboard, kayak, canoe, or go for a quick dip. You aren’t short on options at the Beaver Lake, no matter what your interests.

3. St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church

12 Best Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR (10)© Dreamstime

The St. Elizabeth Catholic Church is a small, picturesque church nestled among greenery and nature on a small hill in Eureka. The church was built in 1908 and replaced the original chapel that was previously visited by worshipers from the area.

(Video) THINGS TO DO IN EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

The church was erected using dolomite limestone from local quarries, giving it a stone cottage appearance. The bell tower was constructed later, in 1910, adding to the church’s unique charm. The church underwent lots of remodeling after its construction, but the original structure still stands today.

Visitors can attend a daily mass at the church or walk around the church’s grounds and interior and admire its unique appearance. You can also get married in the church!

2. Eureka Springs Historical Downtown

12 Best Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR (11)© Dreamstime

Downtown Eureka is the town’s most lively area, full of locals and tourists enjoying the sun at a café in the morning and joining in the town’s bustling nightlife later on. The streets of Downtown Eureka are great for shopping, dining, and meeting new people.

During your visit you can take a Downtown Walking Tour to learn about the town’s unique history or sit peacefully and people-watch in Basin Spring Park, where it all began. If you head up to Spring Street, you can hop between art galleries and boutiques till your heart’s content.

Eureka’s Downtown has lots of accommodation for a range of budgets. It’s near popular tourist attractions and practical facilities, the perfect place to live out your holiday adventures.

1. Thorncrown Chapel

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This is one of the most unique and beautiful chapels you’ll ever see. The chapel is nestled in between native woodlands, surrounded by nature. The chapel’s exterior is made up of a simple wooden structure with lots of windows!

To be precise, there are 425 windows on the chapel’s walls. With that much natural light and the incredible views around, you’ll get the feeling that you aren’t even indoors. There’s trees and wilderness in every direction.

The chapel’s magnificent setting and unique design have earned the Thorncrown lots of architectural awards since its construction. This woodland chapel is a must-see during your visit in Eureka Springs, there’s really nothing like it anywhere else.

Map of Things to do in Eureka Springs, AR

FAQs

Is Eureka Springs worth visiting? ›

Come explore Eureka Springs, and see why it is consistently ranked as one of the best small towns to visit in America. You'll find comfortable accommodations and everything you need at Arsenic & Old Lace Bed and Breakfast.

What is special about Eureka Springs? ›

Part traditional, part bohemian, all fun, Eureka Springs has the most unique downtown in the Ozarks. It's the only city in America where the entire downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You'll be struck by a funky mix of architecture that includes Victorian, Queen Anne, Romanesque and more.

What does Eureka Springs have? ›

Nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, outdoor opportunities abound. Trout fishing is popular on the White River, and canoeing and fishing are popular on the Kings River. Beaver Lake offers the excitement of water sports, camping, fishing, and the entire area is popular for mountain biking and hiking.

What is the best time of year to visit Eureka Springs Arkansas? ›

The best time of year to visit Eureka Springs is probably during the spring. Though some people have different opinions, the spring offers the best weather, before it gets too hot and humid in the summer, and after the colder months have faded from the winter.

How do you get around Eureka Springs? ›

Getting around Eureka Springs is easy. Many things are within walking distance but parking can be tricky. Park at your Hotel, Motel or Bed and Breakfast then take the trolley, walk or call a cab. Free shuttle service is available when you stay at the Crescent Hotel or Basin Park Hotel.

Does Eureka Springs Arkansas have any hot springs? ›

There are over 47 hot springs in the city. Eureka Springs, on the other hand, has 66 cold springs.

Can you swim in Eureka Springs? ›

The first swimming beach is directly off Highway 187 on the northern side of Beaver Dam. It is plainly visible from the highway. Another is at Dam Site Park South. Known locally as “The Island,” this charming area is also accessed from Highway 187, just to the south of Beaver Dam.

How far is Eureka from Hot Springs? ›

How long is the drive from Eureka Springs to Hot Springs? The direct drive from Eureka Springs to Hot Springs is 245 mi (394 km), and should have a drive time of 4 hrs 30 mins in normal traffic.

What is hot springs best known for? ›

Nestled amidst the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Hot Springs is a lovely resort city. It's most known for its naturally heated waters and the grand and elegant bathhouses that sprung up in the early twentieth century.

What is it like to live in Eureka Springs Arkansas? ›

Living in Eureka Springs offers residents a rural feel and most residents own their homes. In Eureka Springs there are a lot of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. Many retirees live in Eureka Springs and residents tend to be conservative. The public schools in Eureka Springs are above average.

Is Eureka Springs a dry county? ›

Arkansas has 75 counties, 32 of which are dry, and (Packaged liquor, beer and wine sales are currently allowed on Sundays in the cities of Altus, Eureka Springs, Ozark, Springdale and Tontitown; additionally, licensed microbreweries can sell growlers for carry-out on Sundays) and on Christmas Day.

Why is Eureka Springs called the Magic city? ›

Eureka Springs was originally called "The Magic City", "Little Switzerland of the Ozarks", and later the "Stairstep Town" because of its mountainous terrain and the winding, up-and-down paths of its streets and walkways.
...
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Websitewww.cityofeurekasprings.us
26 more rows

Why is Eureka Springs called Switzerland? ›

Eureka Springs has historically been called The Little Switzerland of America and The Stairstep Town because of its mountainous terrain and the winding, up-and-down paths of its streets and walkways.

What is the best month to go to Arkansas? ›

The beautiful Fall months of September to October are the best time to visit Arkansas. The vistas are breathtaking with the warm colors of Fall being painted across the State. The state typically has a cooler climate. So winters are the time that see very little tourists and everything is pretty cheap then.

What is the best month to visit Hot Springs Arkansas? ›

The best time to visit Hot Springs is August to October and February to April. Many of the attractions in and around Hot Springs revolve around the water, so travelers will be most comfortable visiting during the warmer months, when drying off won't immediately induce shivering.

What is the Arkansas rainy season? ›

A lot of rain (rainy season) falls in the months: March, April, May, October, November and December. On average, November is the wettest month with 134 mm (5.3 inch) of precipitation. On average, August is the driest month with 65 mm (2.6 inch) of precipitation.

How late do the trolleys run in Eureka Springs? ›

The Yellow Route runs from March to October. From May through October, the Yellow Route will stop running on Saturdays at 6:00 pm. There will be a Blue/Yellow Route that will run from 12pm to 8pm on Saturdays.

Why do people go to Eureka Springs Arkansas? ›

Located in the rolling green Ozark Mountains on the north edge of Arkansas, Eureka Springs is a hotspot for travelers. Visitors flock to the small urban area for both its charming Victorian-era city center and the natural beauty surrounding it, including a wealth of mineral springs for bathing in.

Do you have to pay for parking in Eureka Springs? ›

There are pay for parking lots downtown as well as meters. Most hotels and lodgings provide free parking for visitors staying at that establishment. For day visitors, the City of Eureka now offeres Park & Ride options.

Can you swim in the hot springs in Arkansas? ›

Hot Springs offers plenty of opportunities to splash and play in nature and some other fun ways to beat the heat (see below). Nearly all of the swimming holes and swim beaches listed are located within state or federally protected areas and nearly all are free.

Can you sit in hot springs in Arkansas? ›

Soak in the Springs

The Buckstaff Bathhouse - Orginally opened in 1912, the Buckstaff is the only facility on the Row that has never fully closed since it first started offering baths. For information about services, rates, and reservations, please visit their website or call them directly at (501) 623-2308.

Is hot springs Arkansas the same as Eureka Springs? ›

Eureka Springs and Hot Springs are both known as tourist towns, but they are still pretty different from each other. They are both historic towns, but they have a slightly different feel to them. Hot Springs is the larger town and feels more city like.

Is Beaver Lake swimmable? ›

Beaver Beach, at the south end of Beaver Lake, has a shallow, sandy beach — perfect for swimming, picnicking and canoeing around the offshore islands. You can use the nearby ponds for retriever training, or the Equestrian Centre to exercise and train your horse.

Can you swim in Hogscald hollow? ›

Stay on beautiful Beaver Lake Arkansas and enjoy boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and more!

Can you drink from the springs in Eureka Springs? ›

springs is no longer considered safe to drink.

How far is Little Rock from Hot Spring? ›

How long is the drive from Little Rock to Hot Springs? The direct drive from Little Rock to Hot Springs is 54.7 mi (88 km), and should have a drive time of 58 mins in normal traffic.

What happens in a bathhouse in hot springs? ›

Your adventure begins in the changing room, where you will disrobe and be wrapped in a sheet or towel. You will then meet your bath attendant, who will help you into your private bath. After a soak in the tub, you will then be moved to the sitz bath, the steam room, the cooling table, and then the needle shower.

How many days do you need in hot springs Arkansas? ›

I would say three days. You can see the park in a day but you can not explore it in a day. over a year ago. You can see most of it in one day, but spend the night and take some beautiful hikes.

What state has the most hot springs? ›

Nevada has more hot springs than any other state in the country, with more than 300 occurring naturally. Many can be found in Northern Nevada.

Is it expensive to live in Eureka Springs? ›

The total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other necessities for a single adult in Eureka Springs is $32,616 a year — about the same as the annual cost of living for Arkansas of $32,443 yet less than the national figure of $38,433.

Does it snow in Eureka Springs Arkansas? ›

The US average is 205 sunny days. Eureka Springs gets some kind of precipitation, on average, 99 days per year.
...
Climate Averages.
Eureka Springs, ArkansasUnited States
Snowfall9.3 in.27.8 in.
Precipitation98.8 days106.2 days
Sunny211 days205 days
Avg. July High88.6°85.8°
5 more rows

Can you swim in Eureka Springs? ›

The first swimming beach is directly off Highway 187 on the northern side of Beaver Dam. It is plainly visible from the highway. Another is at Dam Site Park South. Known locally as “The Island,” this charming area is also accessed from Highway 187, just to the south of Beaver Dam.

What is hot springs best known for? ›

Nestled amidst the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Hot Springs is a lovely resort city. It's most known for its naturally heated waters and the grand and elegant bathhouses that sprung up in the early twentieth century.

How far is Eureka from Hot Springs? ›

How long is the drive from Eureka Springs to Hot Springs? The direct drive from Eureka Springs to Hot Springs is 245 mi (394 km), and should have a drive time of 4 hrs 30 mins in normal traffic.

What is the history of Eureka Springs Arkansas? ›

Eureka Springs was founded around and because of the natural springs located throughout the area. Early visitors who came seeking the healing pourers of the natural spring waters in the 1830s camped around the springs in tents and wagons or other makeshift shelters.

Does Eureka Springs Arkansas have any hot springs? ›

There are over 47 hot springs in the city. Eureka Springs, on the other hand, has 66 cold springs.

Are there any springs in Eureka Springs Arkansas? ›

There are upwards of 60 natural springs within Eureka Springs' city limits, many tucked away in small caves, nooks, and crannies. As its name may suggest, springs have played a large part in the history of Eureka Springs.

What happens in a bathhouse in hot springs? ›

Your adventure begins in the changing room, where you will disrobe and be wrapped in a sheet or towel. You will then meet your bath attendant, who will help you into your private bath. After a soak in the tub, you will then be moved to the sitz bath, the steam room, the cooling table, and then the needle shower.

How many days do you need in hot springs Arkansas? ›

I would say three days. You can see the park in a day but you can not explore it in a day. over a year ago. You can see most of it in one day, but spend the night and take some beautiful hikes.

What state has the most hot springs? ›

Nevada has more hot springs than any other state in the country, with more than 300 occurring naturally. Many can be found in Northern Nevada.

How far is Little Rock from Hot Spring? ›

How long is the drive from Little Rock to Hot Springs? The direct drive from Little Rock to Hot Springs is 54.7 mi (88 km), and should have a drive time of 58 mins in normal traffic.

Can you get in the Hot Springs Arkansas? ›

Even though there are no soaking opportunities outdoors, Bathhouse Row does have 2 available facilities that offer visitors the chance to fully submerge and relax in the thermal water. The thermal springs are piped directly into both of these bathhouses, offering users a true and authentic experience of the water.

Why is the Crescent Hotel famous? ›

Built in 1886, there have been hundreds of tales of paranormal experiences at the Crescent Hotel & Spa. Given its history, it's not surprising. Besides being a popular mountaintop resort, the hotel has served as both a girls' college and a cancer hospital–where “Doctor” Norman Baker claimed to have the cure for cancer.

Is Eureka Springs a dry county? ›

Arkansas has 75 counties, 32 of which are dry, and (Packaged liquor, beer and wine sales are currently allowed on Sundays in the cities of Altus, Eureka Springs, Ozark, Springdale and Tontitown; additionally, licensed microbreweries can sell growlers for carry-out on Sundays) and on Christmas Day.

Why is Eureka Springs called Switzerland? ›

Eureka Springs has historically been called The Little Switzerland of America and The Stairstep Town because of its mountainous terrain and the winding, up-and-down paths of its streets and walkways.

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